Principality of Ruhuna

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Three states of the ancient Sinhalese kingdom

The Principality of Ruhuna, also referred to as the Kingdom of Ruhuna, is a region of present-day Southern and Eastern Sri Lanka. It was the center of a flourishing civilisation and the cultural and economic centres of ancient Sri Lanka. Magama, Tissamaharama and Mahanagakula (now called as Ambalantota) were established here.[1][2]

The kingdom of Ruhuna was an important state in Sinhalese history as it was known for several rebellions against the superior states in Rajarata. The principality was defeated with its last de facto Queen Sugala been captured and executed by the invading army of Parakramabahu I. Following its annexing by Parakramabahu, the rebellions that arose were suppressed.



Ruhuna was founded around 200 BC by Prince Mahanaga, brother to Devanampiya Tissa of Anuradhapura, after a personal dispute. This region played a vital role in building the nation as well in the establishment of Buddhist culture.[3]


The kings of Anuradhapura and the Chola kingdom during the reign over a majority of the country, generally fought against the forces of Ruhuna.

Notable Ruhunan militants include: Vijayabahu I, whose armies defeated several Chola generals; and Manabharana II, whose army once conquered Polonnaruwa. The resistances that arose from Ruhuna were generally victorious against the Rajarata kingdom.[4]


After Parakramabahu I conquered the kingdom of Rajarata, defeating its king Gajabahu II, he dispatched a force to Ruhuna. The people and army of Ruhuna generally opposed this and established a force against the invaders. While the Ruhunans were able to defeat a prominent general of Parakramabahu's army named Rakkha, they were defeated and their queen was executed.</ref>[5]


The area identified with Ruhuna in ancient times is mainly the Southern Province, a large part of the Uva Province and small parts of Sabaragamuwa and Eastern Provinces.[3]

Princes of Ruhuna[edit]

Portrait Name Birth Death King From King Until Relationship with Predecessor(s)
Mahanaga - - ? ? Younger brother of Devanampiya Tissa
Yatala Tissa - - ? ? Son of Mahanaga
Gothabhaya - - ? 205 BC Son of Yatala Tissa
Kavan Tissa - - 205 BC 161 BC Son of Gothabhaya
(aka Kassapa VI before coronation)
- - 1029 1041 *Son of Mahinda
- - 1041 1049 *A nobleman of Ruhuna
Mahalana Kirthi - - 1049 1052 *A Chief
Vikkama Pandya - - 1052 1053 *A Sinhala Prince of Pandya Heritage
Jagathpala - - 1053 1057 *A native of Ayodhya
Pârakkama Pandya - - 1057 1059
- - 1059 ? *An inhabitant of Ruhuna

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "South Asia-China Dialogue: Proceedings of the Joint Seminar of South Asian and Chinese Scholars, Beijing, 9-16 June 1980". Marga Institute. 1983. Retrieved 15 January 2014.
  2. ^ Ring, Trudy (1996). Asia and Oceania: International Dictionary of Historic Places. New York: Routledge. ISBN 9781136639791.
  3. ^ a b Sīnigama Mahānāma, Maṅgalasiri (1996). Ruhuṇu puda bima. Sri Lanka: Ministry of Education (Sri Lanka). ISBN 955-923-700-4.
  4. ^ Mendis, G. C. (1996). The Early History of Ceylon. Asian Education Services.
  5. ^ "Mahavamsa - Queen Sugala". Retrieved 2021-08-03.